St Mary’s College 23
Ulster Bank AIL Division 1B
Naas fell to their second defeat in seven days when they fell to a strong St Mary’s side on Saturday afternoon in damp and blustery conditions in Forenaughts.
Last Saturday week when Naas played Malone they suffered a big blow when losing Fionn Higgins to injury in the first very minute. On Saturday they faced St’ Marys College and landed an unwanted double as Niall Delahunt had to be helped off with a shoulder injury within 30 seconds of the start. However it must be said that this is not being used as an excuse as on the day the better side won, and were totally deserving of their victory.
The game was played in persistent rain, and like last week it took Naas a while to recover from losing a player in the early stages.
Mary’s opened the scoring when the home side went offside at a ruck and Conor Dean had no trouble with an easy penalty chance to put them three points ahead. This lead was extended on ten minutes. Naas lost their own line-out deep in their 22, Marys set up a driving maul that was collapsed by the home pack and referee Jonathan Peak had no hesitation in running under the posts to award a penalty try.
To compound matters he also showed David Benn a yellow card to reduce Naas to 14 men for the next minutes. Naas survived this periord without conceding and managed to score themselves – Peter Osborne kicking a penalty after 14 minutes that was awarded for a high tackle.
However, St Mary’s did come mighty close to scoring a second try on 19 minutes. Paddy O’Driscoll was having a fine game at scrum-half for the visitors and he made a lovely break that cut apart the Naas defence but Craig Kennedy failed to hold his pass with a try at his mercy.
Naas were struggling to get any momentum in attack but their best move of the day saw them score a try on 37 minutes. Jordan Duggan broke the gain line with a powerful burst in midfield, Naas won quick ruck ball and some fine handling gave Andy Ellis the room to score in the corner. Although the conversion was missed Naas were back to within two points at 8-10.
They would have settled for that at half-time, but in first half injury time they conceded another try. This time it was the St Mary’s backs who showed their ability as in a well worked move from the base of a scrum, some fine direct running and passing created the chance for Craig Kennedy who slid in at the corner, leaving the score at the break 15-8 to the visitors.
The story of the second half is easily told. Naas had much of the possession but having also lost Andy Ellis to injury they were now down three of their first choice back-line. They never stopped trying but on this occasion they lacked the craft to break down a well organised St Mary’s defence. The visitors were happy to soak up the pressure and then pounce when their own scoring opportunites came.
On 55 minutes Conor Dean knocked over a penalty when Naas came in at the side at a ruck and then on 64 minutes they scored a third try. The referee penalised Naas for being in front of the kicker and awarded St Mary’s a penalty on half-way. They kicked for the corner, set up a driving maul and drove Naas right back with Richie Halpin being awarded the score.
This finished the scoring for the afternoon, although Naas did have to withstand some late pressure as Mary’s sought an all important fourth try. But it was not to be for them and they had to settle for a well meritied 23-8 victory.
So a second defeat running for Naas, but like last week other results in the league went their way so they remain second in the table just one point behind the leaders Malone. Next up for them is an away trip to Armagh this Saturday. Kick-off is at 2.30pm and all support will be greatly appreciated.
Peter Osborne, Fionn Carr, Andrew Ellis, Johne Murphy, Niall Delahunt, Peter Hastie, Max Whittingham, Jordan Duggan, Graham Reynolds, Adam Coyle, Paul Monahan, David Benn, Will O’Brien, James Connolly, Paulie Tolofua.
Replacements:Cathal Duff, Conor Doyle, Ryan Casey, Jordan Fitzpatrick, Eoin Walsh.
St Mary’s College
David Fanagan, Hugo Conway, Myles Carey, Marcus O’Driscoll, Craig Kennedy, Conor Dean, Paddy O’Driscoll, Tom O’Reilly, Daragh McDonnell, Michael McCormack, Liam Corcoran, Liam Curran, David Aspil, Ronan Watters, Nick McCarthy.
Replacements: Richie Halpin, Steven O’Brien, Podge Dundon, Daniel Lyons, Ruairi Shields.
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